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  1. #1
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    When to move up?



    Coach has had me focusing on sprint intervals as well as 3 minute VO2Max intervals. He believes me to be more of an "all-rounder" which in looking at the power profile, I would tend to agree with.

    So, for the fun of it, when I was unsuccessful in getting into/creating a sustainable break at prospect park, I decided to stop patrolling the front, mix in with the pack, and wait for the final sprint (recently I have been breaking 38mph in my training sprints and while I know that this speed is irrelevant, I know that it is better than I have ever done in the past and so I feel I might be able to sprint with the big boys).

    With just over a lap to go (so roughly 3.5 miles) I decided to move from my wheel sucking 50th to a respectable top 10 or so.

    I was completely humbled however. Not in my strength, or lack of fitness, but my inability to use 3.5 miles to move up 100 meters in the pack. There was a wall of riders, constant braking as people were fighting for position, and I felt helpless. Every wheel I jumped on immediately braked. Bottom line is I wanted to go to the front, I wanted to be ON the front, leading the entire pack out. I would rather have done that than being hopelessly stuck 40 places back.

    So, the question is, when do you guys move up? Do you get to the front with 5 to go? 10 to go? Only in the last mile?

    Personally, I felt if things were just strung out, I could have surfed up the side with no problem, but with the slow pack speeds, there was no place to go outside of the jogger's lane (illegal for those of you who don't know).

    So how about it? Advice for someone who is used to sprinting from smaller groups?

  2. #2
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    I'm not a master at moving up, but I'm not bad at it either. My favorite thing to remember is that as soon as your bars are in front of the rider to your side, you own their space. I can left/right/middle my way through the pack just slowly moving folks off wheels. Practice it when the pace isn't heated, and you should be able to do it when it counts.

    Just a reminder from looking at your e-wang chart. You're a sandbagger

  3. #3
    abandoning fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
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    i am certainly not extremely talented in this department, but it is pretty funny to hear you attempt to move up from 50th place to 10th in the last 3.5 miles. it certainly depends on field size, but if you are racing with 100 guys, you had better just skip the warmup and sit by the start/finish until the race starts, cause if you aren't on the front, you won't be getting there unless you take a lot of risks and go a lot faster than the pack which i can't do at all.

    if you are racing with 40-50 guys on a closed road (two lanes open), then you will be able to move up pretty easily up until the last 5ish miles. then people are all trying to get up, and the peloton is gutter to gutter. not much place to move up besides screaming it out of the turns. if you are racing with 100 guys, and you are in the back, good luck getting up there. your entire race will probably be spent trying to move up.

    all that said, i thought this thread would be about a cat 2 upgrade .

  4. #4
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    If I'm planning on camping out in the pack, I'll practice moving through it on the course (assuming it's a circuit) so I know when I can move up, and more importantly if I can move up. So, then I can plan the final move up, or get to the front to respond to a break as needed. If I find it's too tough to move around in the pack, I just stay in the front.

    A lot of times, it's pretty much an attacking effort to get to the front. I'll pop it up over 900W for 20 seconds or so when there's a sliver of space.

    It's also very important to learn how to move up in the middle of the pack, where you can save the most energy.

    In general though, I'll move up 5 to 10 minutes from the finish. On Saturday, I sat about 15 back until 2 to go, and moved into 5th wheel or so, then attacked on the last lap.

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    you "should" be able to move up in 3.5 mi. that's 5KM-ish, a good distance. there's always a way, it's just a matter of how confident you are in putting your bike in tight places, and reacting quickly enough when the opportunity arises.

    in your situation, did you notice others in the mid pack position who made it to the front and contested the sprint? I'll bet you did, next time, follow someone through or at least watch how they get to their position.

    maybe until you're more comfortable navigating, you should patrol the top 10/20 positions and not let yourself get further back, and do a few races where you focus on navigating the pack at different times in the race (this is a great use of early season or "training" races).

    all that being said, I really have no idea why anyone would subject themselves to a sketch field sprint (IMO they're all sketch, cat 4 to protour) when they have the tools not to.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    There are two ways to move up.

    Brute power, which obviously taxes the body a wee bit.

    Or, finesse. Moving people off of wheels.

    In terms of the time during which you should move up; any lull in the pace. Coming over the top of a hill or a short, low climb at speed, letting a gap open up in front of you and moving into the draft before passing. Any time you can shoot a gap without posing an immediate danger to yourself or others, go for it.

    My personal favorite, though, is brute strength plus working the draft. Maybe it's just because I'm much smaller than everyone else, but even on the fastest/longest straight during my (29mph avg. speed) crit sunday, I was able to move up 10-15 spots at will by powering up the leeward side of the line. Stay low, hug the line as you fly by. I was probably a foot away from everyone else, going 35+, each time I did that.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  7. #7
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    all that being said, I really have no idea why anyone would subject themselves to a sketch field sprint (IMO they're all sketch, cat 4 to protour) when they have the tools not to.
    Plenty of races are simply too fast for a break to get off the front. I rolled off the front many times last year, but sometimes, even at my peak 1min intensity after making my move, the field just wouldn't let me go.

    If 600w coming out of 65kg in the drops isn't getting away from a field of 3s, well, it's time to toss one up to the big man upstairs, and hope for the best.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  8. #8
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    you're in a higher cat than i was, so take with a grain of salt, but i found the last lap very difficult to move up in prospect. everyone is more alert and prone to keeping their positions. 2 or 3 laps to go is when i would try to establish my spot.

  9. #9
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    I have never had a problem with the "brute power" move as long as I have 44cm to do it in (a cm on either side of the handlebars). Surfing up the side if there is room is never a problem. In fact it is like attacking into a draft if it is urgent. And while I might have the strength and propensity to get into a break, the P/1/2 guys don't like it if you do it over and over again, and while I was able to solo away from the same field a few months ago for the better part of 2 hours, they do not seem keen to let me do the same again.

    Having said that, I have never had trouble moving up and back in a pack when it is NOT near the end, though, again, it is always along the outside or if a group of wheels happens to be motoring up the middle (rare). I guess I feel like moving people off of a wheel is a bit of a not-so-nice thing to do. I am the guy who if someone wants the wheel in front of me, I will tell them to move in and I will drop back. I don't need to fight for a silly bike length in the middle of a race.

    I guess I will have to practice gently pushing riders off of wheels from the middle of the pack.

    Oh, and why would I sprint? Same reason I do a lot of things in an unimportant race - to test myself.

  10. #10
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    FWIW this brings up an interesting point about coaching in general. It seams that coaches today are only interested in power meter readouts instead of teaching you how to actually race a bike. The races I have won were due to tactical decisions more so then shear strength. Just saying.

    The time to move up imo is on the start line. The last few miles of a race are going to be very difficult to change positioning.

  11. #11
    abandoning fly:yes/land:no's Avatar
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    my thing is, when the pace gets up there, there are a lot more places to move up, ala duke's suggestions. there is a decent draft coming off of a train of 50 guys even if you are beside them. also, as snuff said, the handlebars determine the spot.

    the problem is that when you have a cat 3 race that has been bonkers paced for 45 minutes, and no break is gone, the pace almost always settles down with a few miles to go. the slower the pace, the harder it is to move up. also, the later in the race, the more attentive people are, and the harder it is to move up. i tell myself that the little investments early in the race to hop up 10 or 20 positions at around max hr is worth it, because i won't get the chance to get up here later. most of the time, it pays to be up front, and if that is where you have positioned yourself in the past, it is no wonder you are finding it difficult to move up in heavy traffic in addition to the afore mentioned difficultues.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    For me, moving up needs to be done with a "no opportunity wasted" attitude. Every gap you see you NEED to get into, every opportunity to move forward must be treated with do-or-die urgency if you're to move up. You have way more horsepower than lots of riders, use it!
    Hit those gaps hard and move on the outside/inside when it's possible, taking lots of places. Don't wait!
    Any slacking in pace is your chance to move up, be ready and do it assertively.
    Being nice is great, but pack sprints are not nice, and neither is moving up around other riders who want to do the same. I'm not saying to challenge your moral fiber, but be aggressive!



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  13. #13
    Senior Member Bullseye's Avatar
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    When you have enough points to move up, you should definitely move up.

    Oh! I guess that's not what this thread is about...

    <3 Dr. Will

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  14. #14
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    FWIW this brings up an interesting point about coaching in general. It seams that coaches today are only interested in power meter readouts instead of teaching you how to actually race a bike. The races I have won were due to tactical decisions more so then shear strength. Just saying.

    Get a better coach / DS. My coach does nothing but talk about tactics, and frequently tells me to worry less about all the scientific aspects I so enjoy. It’s a good balance.

  15. #15
    Burning Matches. ElJamoquio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
    I don't need to fight for a silly bike length in the middle of a race.
    Key words highlighted
    Reacting is mind candy; it requires no thought. Thinking is tedious.

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  16. #16
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    I would scout this out earlier in a race. Especially for Crits the wind is going to give you a preferred side of the road in different places. Some corners offer great opportunities to move, combine the two and you can take out chunks of 5 to 10 riders at a time. Or look for another sprinter stuck back who has a little help and surf up on his wheel.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bnjmn's Avatar
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    Being a newbie- I start getting antsy when I can't see the front of the pack, fearing that I'll get stuck in the back (@ PPark). I don't think it takes any more energy to sit in up front vs. in back. And there is a better chance at avoiding disaster-- such as the massive midpack crash in the PPark Cat 4 race last Saturday at the Start/Finish line. I guess I don't see any value in hanging out in back, but again, I am a rookie.

    And what is his coach supposed to say? Give the guy a break, navigating the impossibly dense Prospect Park packs is hardly something that a few words of wisdom from a coach can fix. Those packs are thick like a tropical rainforest, except all the plants are moving.

  18. #18
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    I tend to ride the whole race in the top 5-10. It doesn't leave me as fresh as I'd like though it enables me to get into breaks or try an opportunistic move late in the race. Sunday with 4 to go I decided the move was to solo so I followed someone off the front and when he gave me the flick I attacked him and soloed the rest of the race. A guy like James Joseph is a master of sitting at the back and moving up in the last 3-5 miles. Those sort of tactics give me anxiety. I can't ride a race like that for fear of missing the right move.

    Especially in crits one spends far less energy near the front than at the back.

    I guess the short answer is to be near the front but not taking wind as much as possible.

  19. #19
    Whateverthehell Chucklehead's Avatar
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    I always do the dangle in the very back until the timer says we're halfway there. Then I start to move up gradually. If you move too late and start charging the front in one foul swoop, you bring the entire pack with you. You're just wasting your energy with that move, because everyone that follows you will continue right on by when you either get to the front or decide to tuck in near the front and you've done all that work for nothing. Try gaining a few spots here and there, then lose a couple, then gain a few more. It's a gradual process and no one really takes note. Then, if you've timed it right, you're up in the top 15 or so when you get to the lap count and you're ready to shoot it out at the end.
    This is the formula that works best for me as I'm more of a Lone Ranger sprinter/sniper type since I almost never have teammates working with me. It doesn't work for everyone, but it gets me top 10's every week.
    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo daVinci

  20. #20
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    I tend to ride the whole race in the top 5-10. It doesn't leave me as fresh as I'd like though it enables me to get into breaks or try an opportunistic move late in the race. Sunday with 4 to go I decided the move was to solo so I followed someone off the front and when he gave me the flick I attacked him and soloed the rest of the race. A guy like James Joseph is a master of sitting at the back and moving up in the last 3-5 miles. Those sort of tactics give me anxiety. I can't ride a race like that for fear of missing the right move.

    Especially in crits one spends far less energy near the front than at the back.

    I guess the short answer is to be near the front but not taking wind as much as possible.
    Yeah, some people are masters at moving up. I was watching the P/1 crit on Saturday, and Pat McCarty sat last wheel for much of the race. Then, out of nowhere he'd come through the start/finish dragging the field by their tongues. Not much later, at the back again, only to return to the front after a few laps. It looked like he was just using it as a workout, but he was really good at it.

  21. #21
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    I tend to ride the whole race in the top 5-10. It doesn't leave me as fresh as I'd like though it enables me to get into breaks or try an opportunistic move late in the race. Sunday with 4 to go I decided the move was to solo so I followed someone off the front and when he gave me the flick I attacked him and soloed the rest of the race. A guy like James Joseph is a master of sitting at the back and moving up in the last 3-5 miles. Those sort of tactics give me anxiety. I can't ride a race like that for fear of missing the right move.

    Especially in crits one spends far less energy near the front than at the back.

    I guess the short answer is to be near the front but not taking wind as much as possible.
    That is what I want to know about. How does JJ do it? I can sit near the front the entire race, and for the most part in this one, did just that, until I made the conscious decision to bury myself in the pack only to try to emerge like JJ. I just want a different tool for my shed. It's pretty easy to stay up front, it is easy to attack. It is easy to sprint from smaller group. What I would like to learn is how to move from the back to the front near the end (thus my question...3 miles to go? 10 miles to go?) so that I can sprint against the entire pack.

    Or I will just be stuck being the TT guy.

  22. #22
    getting dropped merckx89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucklehead View Post
    I always do the dangle in the very back until the timer says we're halfway there. Then I start to move up gradually. If you move too late and start charging the front in one foul swoop, you bring the entire pack with you. You're just wasting your energy with that move, because everyone that follows you will continue right on by when you either get to the front or decide to tuck in near the front and you've done all that work for nothing. Try gaining a few spots here and there, then lose a couple, then gain a few more. It's a gradual process and no one really takes note. Then, if you've timed it right, you're up in the top 15 or so when you get to the lap count and you're ready to shoot it out at the end.
    This is the formula that works best for me as I'm more of a Lone Ranger sprinter/sniper type since I almost never have teammates working with me. It doesn't work for everyone, but it gets me top 10's every week.
    From the guy who goes from 50 back to top 10 finish in the last lap.
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  23. #23
    Whateverthehell Chucklehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merckx89 View Post
    From the guy who goes from 50 back to top 10 finish in the last lap.
    Hey, that doesn't happen every week. Most of the time it works just like I said up there ^^^. You just never see it because you're always on the front
    "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo daVinci

  24. #24
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
    That is what I want to know about. How does JJ do it? I can sit near the front the entire race, and for the most part in this one, did just that, until I made the conscious decision to bury myself in the pack only to try to emerge like JJ. I just want a different tool for my shed. It's pretty easy to stay up front, it is easy to attack. It is easy to sprint from smaller group. What I would like to learn is how to move from the back to the front near the end (thus my question...3 miles to go? 10 miles to go?) so that I can sprint against the entire pack.

    Or I will just be stuck being the TT guy.

    I'm not sure that spending the race more to the middle-front necessarily always equates with just being a TT guy. It's good to keep in mind that James is a particularly aggressive rider, so where you're braking he's cutting someone else off to keep moving forward. For all the crap you get about your TT position and what not, he gets his on his riding style and about never doing any work. A lot of that though is he he doesn't have much other choice. His fitness isn't what it used to be and he's just a natural fast twitch guy. But he's a one arrow in the quiver guy. If the sprint doesn't unfold just right he can't win. Now granted it frequently does unfold just right, and he's one of the fastest guys around for 200 meters. I'm more comfortable from the front to the middle than the middle to the back, because I don't like to expend that much energy at the end fighting for position. Guys are also more likely to let guys move around that they've seen in the race. That is, the guys who suddenly appear out of no where at the end of the race find more spaces closing up for them. I suppose the answer is that like many other parts of cycling moving from the back to the front at crunch time is an acquired skill. It helps to know which wheels are doing the same thing you are, but absent that one needs to be a bit more aggressive to get the position they need to close out the race. Not everyone has the temperament for that, of course. Same way not everyone is a sprinter or a climber. But with practice anyone can improve a particular aspect of their cycling.

  25. #25
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    There's always the option of having a teammate drag you up with 1 mile to go too.

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